It helps to be in the White House when a CNN host professes himself to be "card-carrying member" of the administration's health care law, or when the enrollment numbers are cast as a "major victory."
New CNN host Michael Smerconish touted the benefits of ObamaCare on Tuesday night, confessing he was a "card-carrying member of ObamaCare" and calling the enrollment numbers "quite an achievement." OutFront host Erin Burnett went even further, saying the enrollment was a "major victory." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
This despite Burnett admitting that major questions have yet to be answered:
"What we still don't know about the numbers, though, is how many people have actually paid for health insurance. Because you can sign up without yet paying. And how many young people are enrolled. Of course, that's going to be the key to future success as well as things like how much will premiums, in many cases set low to encourage people to sign up, surge in the coming year."
For his part, Smerconish defended the law from charges of socialism: "You know who should be angry about ObamaCare? Real socialists. The Tea Party opponents of the Affordable Care Act promised them a government incursion that the new law doesn't deliver on."
Below is a transcript of the segment:
9:56 p.m. EST
MICHAEL SMERCONISH: Open enrollment for the first season of ObamaCare ended last night at midnight. And the administration is touting that it reached 7.1 million. You'll remember that 7 million was the original goal. It's quite an achievement, considering that botched launch back in October, which I experienced firsthand. For weeks, I was in health care purgatory. Since sunrise on the day of the launch October 1st, I attempted to shop for health insurance at Healthcare.gov, and almost eight weeks later I still hadn't been successful. My experience was a Kafka-esque nightmare of internet denial and telephone road blocks. But when I finally broke the log jam, I was offered 24 competitive plans by two insurance underwriters, and I acquired my plan. The most expensive option was an IBX platinum personal choice PPO for $2100 and change per month. It had a zero deductible and a $5,000 limit per family on out of pocket experiences. My least expensive choice was IBX bronze PPO, $1150 and change per month, with a $12,000 deductible per family.
Today, I guess you could say I'm a card-carrying member of ObamaCare. While reviewing my options, something occurred to me. You know who should be angry about ObamaCare? Real socialists. The Tea Party opponents of the Affordable Care Act promised them a government incursion that the new law doesn't deliver on. Just think back to those rallies of 2009 and 2010, all those signs mocking President Obama with the word "socialist" emblazoned upon them. They were as common as the Gadsden flags, the "Don't Tread on Me" flags. But the health care exchanges bear no resemblance to what Miriam Webster defines as quote, "a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies."
And actual socialists, they've noticed. Last fall, Greg Pason, the national secretary for the Socialist Party, USA, told me "the ACA program relies on private health insurance companies to manage health services. A socialized system would not include health insurance, but would be an actual national health care system which would be publicly funded through progressive taxation and controlled by democratically-elected assemblies of health care workers and patients. And he's right. Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance in America is still being delivered by private practitioners and paid for by private insurers. And the further irony is that those who were quick to level the socialist charge were advocating for the right of people to remain uninsured and burden everybody else. The only liberty interest that's being sacrificed under the Affordable Care Act is one's ability to be uninsured. And even that is violable. You can still exercise your right to be uninsured, but you're going to have to pay a fine. Look, it's too soon to know if the law's going to work. We need to know about the mix within the states between the healthy and the sick and whether premiums are affordable. The only thing for certain is what it isn't – socialism.
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
[7:52 p.m. EST]
ERIN BURNETT: And tonight, a major victory for President Obama. Months of low enrollment numbers, you've heard about them left right and center, web site plagued with technical problems, but vindication for the President in terms of enrollment. The number of people signing up for ObamaCare exceeded expectations. 7.1 million people have enrolled, 100,000 more than the government's initial goal. Now, the President did admit the rollout was a bumpy one but he was sure to let his critics know he won.
BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States: Many of the tall tales that have been told about this law have been debunked. There are still no death panels. Armageddon has not arrived. Instead, this law is helping millions of Americans, and in the coming years it will help millions more.
(End Video Clip)
BURNETT: What we still don't know about the numbers, though, is how many people have actually paid for health insurance. Because you can sign up without yet paying. And how many young people are enrolled. Of course, that's going to be the key to future success as well as things like how much will premiums, in many cases set low to encourage people to sign up, surge in the coming year.